Visit This Stunning Thai Island Before White Lotus Brings Larger Crowds And Prices

Thailand has been an extremely popular tourist destination for decades. It became a hot spot in the 1960s and international visitors have enjoyed the beautiful beaches, delicious food, and friendly local culture ever since. Thailand's tourism industry began to take off during the Vietnam War when soldiers visited the country on military leave for rest and recuperation. The industry continued to grow steadily over the years as travel became more accessible and affordable for the masses. By the 1990s, word about the beautiful Asian country was out amongst backpackers, who traveled from around the world to enjoy the peaceful nation's natural beauty, lively cities, and affordable prices.

It's remained one of the top destinations for budget-conscious backpackers and solo travelers and is one of the most easily visited Asian countries. Thailand is considered one of Southeast Asia's safest places to visit. Tourism has become one of the main factors driving the economy, but some argue that the country is becoming overcrowded, causing a whole sleuth of problems like environmental degradation. Budget travelers are concerned by the increasing prices. Luxury tourism is growing, and visitors must show proof of funds to enter the country.

Now, Thailand is anticipating another tourism boom – this time on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, one of the best spots to visit when traveling to Thailand. Filming for the new season of the hit TV show "The White Lotus" is already underway, and fans are expected to descend upon the island in hordes once it airs in 2025.

Experience the island paradise of Koh Samui

Season 3 of The White Lotus will bring back Belinda Lindsey (Natasha Rothwell) — the spa manager who assisted the wealthy and somewhat self-centered Tanya McQuoid (Jennifer Coolidge) in the first season. Along with Rothwell, a variety of newcomers will be featured, but it's quite possible that the breathtaking island of Koh Samui will be the real star of the show in season three.

Filming for "The White Lotus" is currently underway at one of the island's most luxurious properties, according to Thai tourism authorities. In keeping with the tradition of previous seasons, a glamorous Four Seasons Resort sets the perfect backdrop for the dramatic and satirical dark comedy. The hit show's creator, Mike White, had previously hinted that the new season might take place in Asia. "The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex," he teased in a clip at the end of season two. "I think the third season would be maybe a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality. It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus."

If the first two seasons are any indication, "The White Lotus” has the power to instantly create the newest "it" destinations. Expedia's 2024 travel predictions already pegged "set-jetting" to Thailand as one of the top travel trends to look out for, citing a 300% increase in travel demand in Hawaii and Sicily after their seasons aired.

Planning your perfect Koh Samui vacation

Koh Samui is an ideal destination for all types of travelers to experience Thailand's natural beauty, whether you're looking for budget travel or a luxury vacation. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, it's the country's third-largest island and one of the least crowded, considered a destination dupe alternative to busier islands like Phuket. It's known for its beautiful white sand beaches, green hills, and picturesque villages.

Accommodations range from affordable hostels perfect for backpackers to opulent 5-star resorts offering every amenity. You can find hostel dorms starting under $10 per night. 3-star hotels start around $50 per night, and cool private bungalows and cottages can be found for under $150. There are excellent affordable options, but luxury travelers will find plenty of options to choose from as well, such as the Ritz Carlton and Hyatt Regency. If you want to stay at the breathtaking Four Seasons Resort where "The White Lotus" is filming, you can rent a villa for two starting at around $1,300 nightly, while the private residences with multiple bedrooms cost up to $7,000 per night.

During your visit to Koh Samui, soak up the island's natural beauty with long sunny days lounging on the powdery soft beaches and swimming in the sea. Kayaking, snorkeling, and sunset cruises are other great ways to enjoy the sea. You can also hike to jungle waterfalls, dine on delicious Thai food, stroll through magical gardens, and visit iconic landmarks like the giant golden Buddha temple, Wat Phra Yai.